Murder Unlimited!

lg_v3_murder_unlimited_smallOne of the great tropes of modern heroic fiction is the “dark reflection,” where we get to see a villain that’s very similar to our hero – so much so, that they’re practically two sides of the same coin. Lazarus Gray has clashed several times with a man known as Nemesis, whose very existence is due to a spell to turn him into Gray’s equal.

But what about Assistance Unlimited, the group that Lazarus leads? Do they have an opposite number?

Actually, the answer is yes – and they’re known as Murder Unlimited!

Be warned if you read further, however… because spoilers lie ahead.

The first version of Murder Unlimited made their debut in 1936 when a scarred woman named Constance Majestros brought together a team based out of 666 Holder Way – a brownstone located in one of Sovereign City’s worst neighborhoods (“Murder Unlimited,” Lazarus Gray Volume 3). Despite its surroundings, the interior was quite lush and well-suited to its evil membership. The initial members were:

  • Dr. Melvin Pemberley – A doctor that had been discredited for his awful experiments and a frequent foe of Assistance Unlimited in its early days.
  • Prince Femi – The resurrected Egyptian sorceress that has fought Assistance Unlimited more than any other villain has.
  • Abraham Klee – The son of the notorious Adolphus Klee, this madman has a bald head and a terrible scar around it — surgeries have allowed him to utilize 90% of his brain capability.
  • Stanley Davis – A heavyset man gifted with clairvoyance.
  • Constance Majestros – Scarred after a battle with Lazarus Gray, she was fixated on gaining revenge.

The team was defeated and for several years, the Murder Unlimited name was unused. It was revived in 1940 when a new version was formed (“As Above, So Below” – Lazarus Gray Volume 8). This team consisted of:

  • Nemesis – Agent of both The Illuminati and the Occult Forces Project, Nemesis was magically enhanced to be Lazarus Gray’s equal.
  • Bushido – A Japanese warrior, she is a female samurai and is fiercely loyal to Nemesis. The two are lovers and partners.
  • Vixen – Caroline Berber wears a black catsuit and is skilled at seducing men — in fact, she managed to trick Morgan Watts into marrying her.
  • Brick — Larry Carter was Caroline’s boyfriend and a thug of the highest order.
  • Alloy – Mario Gallo had suffered a terrible injury but was repaired by Italian doctors that used an experimental substance called Material-X to strengthen his shattered bones.

A third incarnation was formed in 1941 (Lazarus Gray Volume 9). This time, the group was once again led by Nemesis and Bushido but its final two members were quite surprising and featured betrayals of trust for Assistance Unlimited… that’s right: for the first time, a former member of Assistance Unlimited was now a member of Murder Unlimited! When we get closer to the release of Volume 9, I’ll talk more about who those two mystery members are but for now, all I’ll say is that one of the members is a former member of Assistance Unlimited and the other is a classic pulp character making his or her debut in my universe… and they come back to play a role in Volume 10, too!

The Immortal Princess Femi

lg03_femi_smallA good villain can make all the difference.

With The Peregrine, most of his enemies were dead and buried by the end of each adventure, though he had a few (The Warlike Manchu, for instance) who made return appearances. When I created Lazarus Gray, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do with the series was to create a series of recurring villains. I wanted him to have a vibrant rogue’s gallery that could return again and again.

But which of his enemies stands above the rest? If our hero is defined by his villains, which of those foes is his dark mirror?

Obviously, Lazarus Gray has Walther Lunt, his former mentor. Lunt was a major force in Volumes One and Two but his death in 1936 (“Die Glocke”) has left him as a shadow looming over the series. He did return to battle Lazarus in a winner-returns-to-life battle but his defeat there has seemingly ended his threat forever.

And then there’s Nemesis, whose very name suggests that he should be Lazarus Gray’s arch-foe. He plays a key role in volumes 7-9.

Bur are either of them really Gray’s arch-enemy? Or should that honor go to the equally-deserving immortal known as Femi?

Continue reading → The Immortal Princess Femi

Timeline of My Pulp Adventure Universe (updated 4/1/20)

gravediggerMajor Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories.

~ 800 Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born.

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island].

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as a headless warrior.

Continue reading → Timeline of My Pulp Adventure Universe (updated 4/1/20)

The Diabolical Dr. York!

yorkMost of the villains in my pulp adventure universe are of the done-in-one variety: they pop up, bedevil our hero and then get killed. The Warlike Manchu, Doctor Satan and Princess Femi are probably the biggest exceptions to that rule.

But what about the deadly Doctor York? Why doesn’t this bad guy get the credit he deserves as one of the big bads of my universe?

Who’s that, you say? You’ve read almost all of my books and aren’t familiar with Doctor York?

That’s because he’s faced The Peregrine multiple times but never done so in prose (at least, not yet!).

York first appeared in All-Star Pulp Comics (2011) # 1, in a story written by me and drawn by by Craig Wilson. Set during The Peregrine’s days in Boston (1933), this tale introduces us to our would-be master villain. York is a former scientist that is now in service to the Elder Gods. His body is the receptacle for dark energies that have had the unfortunate side-effect of altering his appearance. His brain now floats in a clear glass dome above his torso… York has plans to sacrifice the daughter of one of The Peregrine’s friends but our hero manages to foil the scheme and York is dragged off to the nether-realms by his angry masters.

Case closed, right?

Not quite!

Illustration 4York returned in The Peregrine Animated Script that was recently reprinted in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Three. In this story (set somewhere in the 1936-1937 period), York has managed to acquire the body of Princess Femi, the immortal enemy of Lazarus Gray. York revives her in hopes that she’ll aid him in destroying The Peregrine but once again he is dispatched back to Hell. How did he survive his prior defeat? We’re told that York was persuasive enough to convince the Elder Gods that he deserved a second chance. I imagine they weren’t so forgiving after yet another defeat.

In The Second Book of Babylon, we get to see York make his debut in prose form — he clashed with the Cosmic Spirit of Retribution. Those events are set in 2011 and while we won’t be told right away what York’s been up to between 1937 and 2011, I’m sure we’ll get more details as time passes.

I originally created York because in both the comic book and proposed animated adventure I wanted someone with a really strong visual. He turned out to be quite fun and I have a feeling that he’ll continue to bedevil our heroes in years to come.

Image # 1 is by Craig Wilson and appeared in All-Star Pulp Comics # 1. Image # 2 is by Steven Wilcox and appeared in The Second Book of Babylon.

The Mysterious El Demonio

lg7_03_largeThe crime-lord known as El Demonio  rose to infamy south of the border, amassing a fortune through prostitution, drugs and protection rackets. His true name has yet to be revealed, nor do we know by what means he first came to power. He has teasingly claimed that the face under the mask was a famous one but he later played this off as a joke.

El Demonio infiltrated Sovereign City after becoming an agent of the so-called King in Yellow. He had a fear-inducing machine that he hoped to use to expand his operations throughout North and South America. This scheme brought him into conflict with Assistance Unlimited – particularly with Eun Jiwon, whose physical prowess caught Demonio’s attention. In the end, Demonio found himself allied with the immortal Princess Femi in an attempt to unleash the King in Yellow onto an unsuspecting world… but the entire affair was foiled when Femi was vanquished, Lazarus Gray defeated the King in Yellow in Dread Carcosa, and Demonio was beaten in hand-to-hand combat by Eun Jiwon.

El Demonio is currently incarcerated in Lazarus Gray’s super-prison, Tartarus.

This villain’s sole appearance thus far was in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Seven, set in 1939.

The Immortal Princess Femi

lg03_femi_smallA good villain can make all the difference.

With The Peregrine, most of his enemies were dead and buried by the end of each adventure, though he had a few (The Warlike Manchu, for instance) who made return appearances. When I created Lazarus Gray, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do with the series was to create a series of recurring villains. I wanted him to have a vibrant rogue’s gallery that could return again and again.

But which of his enemies stands above the rest? If our hero is defined by his villains, which of those foes is his dark mirror?

Obviously, Lazarus Gray has Walther Lunt, his former mentor. Lunt was a major force in Volumes One and Two but his death in 1936 (“Die Glocke”) has left him as a shadow looming over the series. He did return to battle Lazarus in a winner-returns-to-life battle but his defeat there has seemingly ended his threat forever.

And then there’s Nemesis, whose very name suggests that he should be Lazarus Gray’s arch-foe. He plays a key role in volumes 7-9.

Bur are either of them really Gray’s arch-enemy? Or should that honor go to the equally-deserving immortal known as Femi?

Continue reading → The Immortal Princess Femi

Timeline of my Pulp Adventure Universe (updated 8/20/2019)

small_lazarus_batistaMajor Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories.

~ 800 Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born.

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island].

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as a headless warrior.

Continue reading → Timeline of my Pulp Adventure Universe (updated 8/20/2019)

Murder Unlimited!

lg_v3_murder_unlimited_smallOne of the great tropes of modern heroic fiction is the “dark reflection,” where we get to see a villain that’s very similar to our hero – so much so, that they’re practically two sides of the same coin. Lazarus Gray has clashed several times with a man known as Nemesis, whose very existence is due to a spell to turn him into Gray’s equal.

But what about Assistance Unlimited, the group that Lazarus leads? Do they have an opposite number?

Actually, the answer is yes – and they’re known as Murder Unlimited!

Be warned if you read further, however… because spoilers lie ahead.

The first version of Murder Unlimited made their debut in 1936 when a scarred woman named Constance Majestros brought together a team based out of 666 Holder Way – a brownstone located in one of Sovereign City’s worst neighborhoods (“Murder Unlimited,” Lazarus Gray Volume 3). Despite its surroundings, the interior was quite lush and well-suited to its evil membership. The initial members were:

  • Dr. Melvin Pemberley – A doctor that had been discredited for his awful experiments and a frequent foe of Assistance Unlimited in its early days.
  • Prince Femi – The resurrected Egyptian sorceress that has fought Assistance Unlimited more than any other villain has.
  • Abraham Klee – The son of the notorious Adolphus Klee, this madman has a bald head and a terrible scar around it — surgeries have allowed him to utilize 90% of his brain capability.
  • Stanley Davis – A heavyset man gifted with clairvoyance.
  • Constance Majestros – Scarred after a battle with Lazarus Gray, she was fixated on gaining revenge.

The team was defeated and for several years, the Murder Unlimited name was unused. It was revived in 1940 when a new version was formed (“As Above, So Below” – Lazarus Gray Volume 8). This team consisted of:

  • Nemesis – Agent of both The Illuminati and the Occult Forces Project, Nemesis was magically enhanced to be Lazarus Gray’s equal.
  • Bushido – A Japanese warrior, she is a female samurai and is fiercely loyal to Nemesis. The two are lovers and partners.
  • Vixen – Caroline Berber wears a black catsuit and is skilled at seducing men — in fact, she managed to trick Morgan Watts into marrying her.
  • Brick — Larry Carter was Caroline’s boyfriend and a thug of the highest order.
  • Alloy – Mario Gallo had suffered a terrible injury but was repaired by Italian doctors that used an experimental substance called Material-X to strengthen his shattered bones.

A third incarnation was formed in 1941 (Lazarus Gray Volume 9). This time, the group was once again led by Nemesis and Bushido but its final two members were quite surprising and featured betrayals of trust for Assistance Unlimited… that’s right: for the first time, a former member of Assistance Unlimited was now a member of Murder Unlimited! When we get closer to the release of Volume 9, I’ll talk more about who those two mystery members are but for now, all I’ll say is that one of the members is a former member of Assistance Unlimited and the other is a classic pulp character making his or her debut in my universe… and they come back to play a role in Volume 10, too!

 

Another Rave Review for Lazarus Gray!

José Rivera posted a 5-Star review of the seventh volume in the Lazarus Gray series. Let’s take a look at what he said:

Another amazing volume of Lazarus Gray comes out and as always, it’s an occasion to be celebrated. This time we get a novel-length adventure involving The King in Yellow, a terrifying villain with an unsettling influence on people. Even better, we get the return of Princess Femi, a character I’ve loved since the first volume. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Reese has included as many previous members of Assistance Unlimited as possible, each getting their moments to shine. It’s always good seeing Eidolon and Abby and given how their relationship is going, can’t wait to see where that goes.

With the way I’m describing this story, you’d think this was the finale of the series–It even seems like it with the final words. But thankfully it’s not. You come for the adventure, you stay for the characters and when its all said and done, you leave with a sense of hope knowing the people of Sovereign are in good hands and there’s more adventures down the line.

Also…the description of Carcosa is creepy as hell!

Thanks, Jose! I think that volume 7 was one of my best so I’m glad you agree. As for the ending, you never know what will happen in life so I try whenever possible to leave each volume in a position where if it ended up being the final book, readers would feel satisfied.

Murder Unlimited

lg_v3_murder_unlimited_smallOne of the great tropes of modern heroic fiction is the “dark reflection,” where we get to see a villain that’s very similar to our hero – so much so, that they’re practically two sides of the same coin. Lazarus Gray has clashed several times with a man known as Nemesis, whose very existence is due to a spell to turn him into Gray’s equal.

But what about Assistance Unlimited, the group that Lazarus leads? Do they  have an opposite number?

Actually, the answer is yes – and they’re known as Murder Unlimited!

Be warned if you read further, however… because spoilers lie ahead.

The first version of Murder Unlimited made their debut in 1936 when a scarred woman named Constance Majestros brought together a team based out of 666 Holder Way – a brownstone located in one of Sovereign City’s worst neighborhoods (“Murder Unlimited,” Lazarus Gray Volume 3). Despite its surroundings, the interior was quite lush and well-suited to its evil membership. The initial members were:

  • Dr. Melvin Pemberley – A doctor that had been discredited for his awful experiments and a frequent foe of Assistance Unlimited in its early days.
  • Prince Femi – The resurrected Egyptian sorceress that has fought Assistance Unlimited more than any other villain has.
  • Abraham Klee – The son of the notorious Adolphus Klee, this madman has a bald head and a terrible scar around it — surgeries have allowed him to utilize 90% of his brain capability.
  • Stanley Davis – A heavyset man gifted with clairvoyance.
  • Constance Majestros – Scarred after a battle with Lazarus Gray, she was fixated on gaining revenge.

The team was defeated and for several years, the Murder Unlimited name was unused. It was revived in 1940 when a new version was formed (“As Above, So Below” – Lazarus Gray Volume 8). This team consisted of:

  • Nemesis – Agent of both The Illuminati and the Occult Forces Project, Nemesis was magically enhanced to be Lazarus Gray’s equal.
  • Bushido – A Japanese warrior, she is a female samurai and is fiercely loyal to Nemesis. The two are lovers and partners.
  • Vixen – Caroline Berber wears a black catsuit and is skilled at seducing men — in fact, she managed to trick Morgan Watts into marrying her.
  • Brick — Larry Carter was Caroline’s boyfriend and a thug of the highest order.
  • Alloy – Mario Gallo had suffered a terrible injury but was repaired by Italian doctors that used an experimental substance called Material-X to strengthen his shattered bones.

A third incarnation was formed in 1941 (Lazarus Gray Volume 9). This time, the group was once again led by Nemesis and Bushido but its final two members were quite surprising and featured betrayals of trust for Assistance Unlimited… that’s right: for the first time, a former member of Assistance Unlimited was now a member of Murder Unlimited!